Shared Albums


One feature that I really wish they had in Apple photos is the ability to have shared libraries. For instance, a husband and wife could have a library where all the pictures they both take it combined into one. I know there's good reasons for this and good reasons against it, but Apple unfortunately doesn't support it at all.

What they do have, however, is Shared Albums. And albums show the photos that you choose, and you can share it with up to 100 people. 

So you find Shared Albums under the Albums tab. I'm going to tap on the See All button and you can see there's all of my Shared Albums. 

I'm going to go ahead and tap on this one right here for the dog. And you can see that we've got a bunch of pictures we've shared of this puppy.

If I tap on the People button in the lower section of the screen, you can see all the people that are connected to this Shared Album.

And I've got some controls here for notifications.

Now if I tap on this other album with some pictures from Star Wars at Disneyland and tap on People, you'll see that there's more control here because this is an album that I created. So I can give subscribers the ability to post to the album. I can make it a public website if I want to really share it or turn on notifications. 

If I hit the edit button in the Shared Album view, I can delete an album and when I do that, It also gives me the plus button in the upper-left corner. If I tap that allows me to create a new album.

I'll go ahead and make one. So I've given it a name: Another Shared Album. And then it opens up a screen where I can choose who I'm going to invite the album and then I can tap Create. Once it's created, there it is. 

Adding photos to it is real simple. I'm going to go over to the photos page. I'll go ahead and select a couple images. There's a video and an image. Then I'm going to hit the Sharing button, and then you can see right below there: Add to Shared Album. So I'll tap that. And right now it wants to share it to the Ashoka the Doodle album. But I want to save it to another Shared Album, the one I just created. Tap Post, and now it's in there.

So if I go back to the albums, and I open that Shared Album, there's that video and that image. With a Shared Album, people can make comments and even add their own shots if they want, and you can manage your Shared Album and permanently save any photo that your friends have.

It's pretty cool, but there are limitations. The biggest problem is the file size. Shared Albums can support a lot of file formats like HEIF and JPG, RAW PNG, GIF and TIF. But there is a limit on the file size. Normal photos are limited to 2048 pixels on the long edge. Panoramic photos can be up to 5400 pixels wide. Shared GIF's can be 100 megabytes or smaller. Videos can be up to 15 minutes in length and are delivered at 720 P.

But as you know, your iPhone takes much better pictures than 2048 pixels and shoots much better video than 720 p. It shoots 4k video. So when you have a Shared Album, the versions of the photos and video that you're sharing aren’t as big as the original images. Normally, that may not be a problem, you're just sharing the images so everybody can see them. But what if somebody wants to use the video in a further production? Or what if somebody wants to print out an image that you put in the shared images? In that cae, they're dealing with a much smaller version that's going to look pixelated when they get printed.

I kind of understand where Apple's coming from. If they tried to make Shared Albums for full resolution, it would probably kill their servers. But this is a limitation a lot of people don't realize and then they go and rely on those Shared Album photos and they don't get exactly what they want.

The solution is really to use the Shared Album but if there's an image you want to print or do something more with, you contact the person and have them send you the full size image. Whether it be through AirDrop or some other method I've covered in this chapter. There's another limit to about the number of images. A Shared Album can hold up to 5,000 photos and videos. If you reach the limit, you need to delete some or make a new Shared Album. All the photos and videos you share with the Shared Album stay in iCloud until you are the contributor delete them manually, or until you delete the Shared Album completely.

One nice thing is even though you store them in your iCloud account, they don't count against your iCloud storage limit, so you don't have to worry about that.

Even with all these limitations, I find Shared Albums super useful. Anytime we have a big family event, we put together a Shared Album. We also do it when there’s a new family member like a baby or a dog, and we have an easy way for everybody to share photos in one place. Just remember if you're going to do anything with an image you get in a Shared Album to contact the person who took that image and have them send you the original size first.

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